Before I leave 1997, I’d like to take a look at a compilation that came out earlier in the year but only found its way into my collection that Christmas. It was a particularly stormy drive home on 24th December and this collection of “40 Sweet & Sour tracks” was the perfect soundtrack. A broken loveheart & Suede, Babybird, Alisha’s Attic, Pulp, Oasis, Cast, REM.
Bruener45 remembers: “Synoptics show a depression with a minimum pressure of 972 mb crossing Ireland during 24 December 1997. This storm moved northeastwards and as it did so, it resulted in winds gusting to hurricane force over parts of Munster and storm force for places in Leinster. This was a very severe event & the worst storm that southern regions of Ireland had seen since at least the storms of January 1974 and gusts were also comparable to those of Debbie in September 1961.” The possibility of coming a cropper under a falling tree was constant throughout that intense journey down home.
We start with an end of night number, Suede’s Saturday Night. Its meandering quality evokes the lengths we all go to when out socialising. The pressure to have a good time. Exquisitely executed with just the right amount of melancholia. Next is Babybird’s long forgotten #14 belter, the genial & rhythmic Candy Girl; far, far better than the over-played You’re Gorgeous. Another top tune is Alisha’s Attic harmonious I Am, I Feel – produced by Dave Stewart and another tune that has slipped through the cracks. Also continuing the evocative – almost regretful theme – are Dodgy and their magnificently moody If You’re Thinking Of Me while Weller’s You Do Something To Me still retains its emotional punch.
Even though it dates from the 1992/1993 era, the inclusion of REM’s symphonic Find The River makes sense in this company. Shed Seven’s Chasing Rainbows is magical, chord and lyric perfection with a wistful and misty-eyed quality while Pulp’s Something Changed and their deep blue soundscapes work perfectly in tandem with the Longpigs’ sensitive On And On. “I just can’t go on…” bleeds into Radiohead’s bittersweet High And Dry. Elsewhere on disc 1, there’s a mix of the familiar – The Cardigans’ Lovefool, Space’s slinky Female Of The Species & The Wannadies’ You And Me Song rubbing shoulders with the theatrical sound of The Divine Comedy (The Frog Princess). +Lush’s underrated 500 (Shake Baby Shake) – “When girls were perfect by not being perfect.” In a surprise twist, Ocean Colour Scene pop up with the catchy Huckleberry Grove (featuring Rico Rodriguez) while the Boo Radleys still thrill on the gorgeous part-psych adventure From The Bench At Belvidere.
Euro 2020 is in full swing and Cast’s Walkaway is the first song on CD2. Memories of 1996 and Gareth Southgate’s missed penalty. It’s well paired with Menswear’s optimistic Being Brave and Gene’s powerful For The Dead, the earlier number a wise inclusion than one drawn from deeper ends. Also from 1994, Primal Scream’s poignant I’m Gonna Cry Myself Blind. RIP Denise. Plus a second Suede number, the sweeping Stay Together in 7″ edit form. What’s this? Deus in good-song-shocker, the thoughtful Little Arithmetics. And after Garbage & Tricky’s superb Milk, there’s Echobelly’s blissful Dark Therapy. More well loved tales abound from Dubstar and Saint Etienne while stuck between them is the ace so and intense Amplified Heart Album Version of Everything But The Girl’s sublime Missing.
To Manchester next and Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart ’95 followed by James and Come Home, remixed by Flood and the catalyst for their early ’90s momentum. Staying upbeat, we’re treated to The Frank & Walters’ After All, single #5 for them. Released in December 1992 and a #11 hit in the UK. Three months later, they rebooted Fashion Crisis Hits New York for a second go. The LA’s There She Goes gives way to The Lemonheads’ reassuringly comforting It’s About Time. Meanwhile The Levellers’ plaintive Julie still manages to pull the heartstrings with Teenage Fanclub’s Mellow Doubt and Blind Melon’s both packing a powerful pop punch. That just leaves time for two more – a superb and dreamy cover of To Sir With Love by the Trashcan Sinatras and The Cure’s beautiful Love Song. A wise man once said: “The tragedy of growing up in the 80s is you didn’t realise at the time how awesome it was, and when you finally do it’s already over.” Top sweets.
“Then they have the weatherman on
He used to teach all our friends
He talked a lot of wind
He talks a lot about wind” (The Fall – A Lot Of Wind)
Suede – Saturday Night
Dodgy – If You’re Thinking Of Me
Alisha’s Attic – I Am, I Feel
Primal Scream – I’m Gonna Cry Myself Blind
The Cure – Love Song
Lest we forget
Babybird – Candy Girl